Where Are They Now?
Maxine Aarons Given
Written by Debra Roth Kane
Photography by Justin Tsucalas
Maxine Aarons Given has many connections to Pikesville High School. She grew up within walking distance. She graduated from the school in 1983. Her husband Michael, who owns Service First Vending, moved to Baltimore from Philadelphia when he was eight and graduated from PHS in 1980. Now her daughter Holly, 15, is a freshman at the school. Her son Jake, 9, is in fourth grade at Summit Park Elementary, but has PHS to look forward to.
iNSIDER: Does Holly like PHS?
Given: She loves it.
How is it different now from when you were there?
It’s a much more racially, culturally and socio-economically diverse school than when I was there.
Like many of your classmates, you went on to the University of Maryland, College Park.
Why that choice?
At the time, I had two brothers in medical school, so I went to the University of Maryland for economic reasons. I graduated in four years with an accounting degree and made back the cost of my education in one year. It was a good investment.
Your accounting degree had an added benefit?
I met my husband while studying for my CPA. He’s a CPA too. We got married in 1990.
Professionally, you’re really connected with Johns Hopkins.
I went to work for JHU in the controller’s office. I’ve worked for Hopkins in some capacity for 18 years. Sometimes I’ve worked as little as 28 hours per week. Last year I went back to a 40-hour week. It’s always been at Hopkins — 18 years in different accounting jobs. I fit the jobs into my life as a mom.
Now I am Director of Finance at the Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Fund raises money for Johns Hopkins Hospital and for the medical school. It’s a great job — I love it. It makes me feel good to be part of the Johns Hopkins’ mission.
What kept you in Baltimore?
My family and my lifelong friends. Also I’m a creature of habit — I have a little fear of breaking routine. I regret never leaving, but I don’t regret being here now. It’s nice to raise my family with family around.
Do you expect your kids to stay in Baltimore?
No, but I am going to try to bribe them to. Kidding. I would like to see them have other experiences. I might go where they go.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your years since high school?
Trying to keep in perspective what things are important when I am balancing my roles as mother, employee, wife, sister. I have learned to accept 80 percent as good enough. I can’t do everything at 100 percent.
Bottom line on life now?
I feel happy with where I’m at now. I like this stage. My kids are physically independent. Being 44 is a lot less exhausting that being 34. This is better. I’m not worried about my kids growing up [and leaving home]. I have a full life. n